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Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine 10 years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: December 28, 2015

Maine Winter Fairs & Festivals 2016

Written by: Shannon Bryan
Fiona Harrell, 3, gets a ride on the ice from her mom, Jennifer Harrell, of Cape Elizabeth, as they play at the annual South Portland Winterfest at the Wainwright Farms Recreation Complex in 2014. Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Fiona Harrell, 3, gets a ride on the ice from her mom, Jennifer Harrell, of Cape Elizabeth, as they play at the annual South Portland Winterfest at the Wainwright Farms Recreation Complex in 2014. Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Mainers don’t hibernate in the winter – there’s too much to celebrate (like the snow and ice and…well, it’s mostly the snow and ice). Even still, there are plenty of winter festivals to look forward to, featuring everything from sled dogs and figure skaters to snowball-throwing competitions, ice carving and sledding hills built in the middle of the street.


More winter fun: 20+ can’t-miss winter events in Maine


Sarah Morrill/mainetoday.com

Kids getting into winter during WinterKids. Sarah Morrill/mainetoday.com

WinterKids Winter Festival

Jan. 23, Payson Park, Portland. Free. www.winterkids.org
All the best winter activities – sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating – will be waiting for you at the annual Winter Festival. The event runs from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. In between all the outdoor fun, enjoy hot cocoa by the fire, raffles, giveaways and more.

Camden Winterfest

Jan. 30 to Feb. 7, various locations in Camden. www.camdenmaineexperience.com
There will be ice carving, polar plunge, snowboarding demos, free family demos, Frost Heave Challenge (it’s a cocktail competition!) and — of course — the US National Toboggan Championships. The Maine State Snow Sculpting Competition has been postponed due to warm weather. Keep an eye on the website as they’ll be posting the new date as soon as it’s been rescheduled.

Snodeo

Jan. 21 to Jan. 23. Multiple venues in Rangeley. www.rangeleysnowmobile.com
Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club throws quite the party. There will be scenic helicopter flights, marshmallow roasts, casino night, a chili-chowder cook off and, of course, snowmobiles, snowmobiles and snowmobiles (poker run, demo rides, radar runs, Rave X show and more).

Winterfest South Portland

Jan. 29 and 30. Wainwright Recreation Complex and Mill Creek Park, South Portland. Free. sopocebuylocal.org
Winterfest starts on Friday night with a skating party at Mill Creek Park. On Saturday, the festivities move to Wainwright Recreation Complex. There will be a chili-chowder contest, horse-pulled wagon rides, ice skating, snowboard demos, snowshoeing, food trucks and fireworks.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gabe Souza.

Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Brunswick Longfellow Days

Feb. 1 to Feb. 26, multiple venues in Brunswick. Free. brunswickdowntown.org
Month-long celebration includes activities like community poetry, lectures, tours, dining events and films.

Auburn Winter Festival

Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, various locations, Auburn. Many activities free, some require a fee. www.auburnmaine.gov
Sledding, snowmobile rides, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating, ice sculptures, torchlight parade, music and more.

WinterFest Scarborough

1 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 (make-up date Feb. 14), Municipal Ice Rink & High School Sports Complex, Scarborough. www.scarboroughmaine.org
Ice Cube Hunt. Snow Sculpture Contest. Milk Jug Curling. If those activities haven’t already won you over (and they have) there will also be ice skating, wagon rides and more. Families can compete to be crowned the Royal Family and a Royal King and Queen will also be named.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gabe Souza.

Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Biddeford WinterFest

Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, various locations in Biddeford. heartofbiddeford.org
There’s a dance on Friday night, then a host of outdoor fun on Saturday and Sunday, like sledding, sleigh rides, snow golf, a snow softball tournament, marshmallow catapult, ice skating, broomball and more.

Portland puppy photo by Jill Brady.

Jill Brady/Press Herald file photo

Kennebunk Winterfest

Feb. 6, various locations in Kennebunk. www.kennebunkmaine.us
Figure skating performances, fire jugglers, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, soup tasting contest and Cabin Fever Book Sale at the library.

Mellie Dunham Snow Shoe Festival

Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, Roberts Farm Preserve, Norway. wfltmaine.org
There will be plenty of snowshoeing, of course, including daytime treks across the preserve, snowshoe races and a “Lincoln’s Birthday” snowshoe. Sunday’s Snowshoe Games are a highlight (relay races, three-legged races, egg & spoon, musical chairs and snowshoe wife carry).

Portland Press Herald file photo by John Patriquin.

John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

Moosehead lake Sno-Fest

Feb. 13 and 14, Greenville. www.mooseheadlake.org
Events include a chili/chowder cook-off, various snowmobile events and other outdoor winter activities.

Winter Carnival at Gilsland Farm

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 13, Gilsland Farm, Falmouth. maineaudubon.org
Outdoor activities, including scavenger hunt, story walk, snow science station and giant snow shelter. Snowshoe rentals, arts and crafts, snowy owls interactive display and more.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Derek Davis.

Derek Davis/Press Herald file photo

Maine Lakes Winter Carnival

Feb. 20, Highland Lake and other locations, Bridgton. mainelakeswintercarnival.com
Talk about an eclectic winter carnival – the Maine Lakes Winter Carnival includes a kids fishing derby AND a table tennis contest, plus snowmobile rides a Freezin for a Reason polar dip and dogsled rides at Highland Lake.

Photo by Derek Davis.

Derek Davis/Press Herald file photo

OOB Winter Carnival

Feb. 18 to Feb. 20, Old Orchard Street, Old Orchard Beach. www.oob365.com
The beach doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic in the winter, but Old Orchard Beach’s Winter Carnival aims to bring people beachside for some winter sledding with views of the Atlantic. So what massive hill in OOB will visitors be sledding on? Just a man-made mini-mountain – in the middle of Old Orchard Street. Kids Carnival on Thursday, night sledding party on Friday and ice bowling, pony rides and a Slippery Slope Pub Crawl (for the grownups) on Saturday (plus hot cocoa and marshmallow toasting).

Ice Festival L/A

5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Fountain Park, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston. VIP Friday night: $25 in advance, $30 at the door, Saturday: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, Sunday Family Day: Free for children 18 and under, $2.50 adults in advance, $5 adults at the door. icefestla.com
By mid-February, winter ice can get pretty thick. Put that ice to work in your favor at the Ice Festival of Lewiston/Auburn, where frosty beverages are served up with a twist and where winter ice is carved into ice bars and cool ice sculptures and ice luges for chilled winter drinks. Because ice doesn’t seem so bad when it’s serving you a cocktail. There’s also food from area restaurants, live music and plenty of revelry to keep everyone warm. Friday is VIP night and Sunday is family friendly and free for kids.

Portland Press Herald file photo by John Patriquin.

John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

Annual Family Fun Day

Feb. 18, Shawnee Peak, Bridgton. Free. www.shawneepeak.com
Events include a scavenger hunt, snow sculpting contest, pie eating contest, family obstacle course, skillet toss, sack rack, tug of war and more.

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